Hunters from Labrador's Innu Nation headed out Thursday to kill caribou in an area that is closed because of concern for an endangered herd.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government restricts hunting in the zone east of Churchill Falls, because it says the endangered Red Wine caribou herd uses the area.

But Peter Penashue, deputy grand chief of the Innu Nation, disputes that claim.

"We don't agree with closing [that] zone … and therefore we're going to hunt there," he said.

"We know for a fact that if we had to go to court that we would win that, because there is no justification for closing that zone."

Penashue said the Red Wine caribou are farther east of where Innu hunters will be. A recent government estimate put the herd at just 85 animals.

He said while visual identification cannot be made to distinguish between that herd and other caribou, the hunters will rely on radio collars that he says show that endangered animals are not in the area.